Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs8627450
Sadly, many people are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by people who want to scam the machine.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces and other editorials where people rant and complain about people they believe to be abusing the system. You hear some complain that they to sit near a dog at a restaurant they don't believe is a "real" service dog, forms of languages complain that the neighbors have a pet in a "no pet" building simply because they claimed your pet is emotional support animal.
A number of the commentary comes with an indignant tone, plus some people are downright angry.
So how exactly does this affect people who legitimately own and use a service animal to raised their lives? In lots of ways.
For one, it can it more difficult to navigate bureaucracy of the world when your claim of your disability along with your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. In case a landlord or business owner has heard negative stories claiming that some individuals are abusing the device, it can cause these to look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun asking for proof of status, even though asking for written or any other evidence might not be legal, and although many owners of legitimate service animals and emotional support animals haven't taken advantage of registering them, and therefore have no such documentation to create.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business owners that make registrations services such as the Service Animal Registry of California so fundamental to legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it will also help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues when the owner can produce a simple document which will often match the owner or landlord. Also, when working with public spaces, it is often easier to hand over a document having a simple sentence stating, "This is really a service animal" and letting one other party read the information, as opposed to having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse, argument) in public, with onlookers listening in and gathering across the discussion.
So, carry out some people scam the machine, or game the law? Sadly, the answer then is "probably yes." In everyday life, there is always room for abuse and individuals can try to take advantage of many systems that people as a society put in place to protect the rights of people who need such protection. As an example, many drivers falsely display disabled parking placards to take advantage of free and convenient parking. Not forgetting the number of people that lie on their tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse retail store return policies, or do other bad acts.
However that percentage of abuse, which in service animal laws is hopefully small, might just be a very small investment when compared to the higher purpose of promoting access and equality for many.
In the end, you can not control any system making it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few people who scam service animal laws may be the price we gladly pay to ensure the disabled inside the great state of California have equal access under law.